I’m going to be playing around with some different ideas for my blog, so let me know what you think. Dan and I just returned from 5 days in Zhangjiajie (for National Day). It was a spectacular trip, and there’s a lot to talk about. So I’m going to try breaking it into more digestible parts. That way, I can keep the complexity of the experience alive without going on quite so much. Leave a comment or send me a message to let me know your opinion!
A picture is worth a thousand words? Maybe. Sometimes. Photos are pretty, and we’re visual animals. They’re appealing. But they usually require a sort of specific context that words don’t. Images bring back memories, but only to those who remember. They can record a raw emotion, a sensation, that words can only replicate, but it’s just a narrow moment, and not the world that surrounds it. A photo needs context to deliver its most important message.
Sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Sometimes ten words are worth ten thousand pictures. Some things are just visual. Some things just aren’t. To be sure, a photo lacks a certain third dimension, while words just sit outside all dimensions and imitate them.
So when I show you these images, I show you only moments in two dimensions. What I show you is not Zhangjiajie as it truly is. Because these towers, these stairs, this stone landscape, are three dimensional in a way I have never seen. They refuse to be flat, they are enthusiastically non-planar. When you start at the bottom of a 1000-meter-high pillar, you may see one of its giant neighbors fading into the sky, but when you stand on top, that neighbor will have changed. And each tower seems so close, so huge, so immensely present, but so simultaneously distant, that your brain just…falters. You stand at the top of 4000-odd steps, ankles throbbing, you stand and you stare, and whole minutes later you realize you still don’t understand what is before you.
Then the sounds come rushing in.
This weekend: How to live in the world of Chinese tourism
Questions of the week:
Pictures? Words? Both? Where is your favorite place in the world? Leave a comment.